I can confirm that I have sought the approval of the EU Commissioner to allow the payment of a 50% advance of the Single Payment with effect from 16 October, the earliest payment date possible, it being the first day of the new EU financial year. I understand that a number of other Member States have also made similar requests. I am both particularly mindful of the importance of the Single Payment to individual farmers and also of the benefit to the wider rural community and, in light of ongoing general financial difficulties, but particularly the recent very unseasonable weather, I have decided to approach the Commissioner, as indicated.
In a bilateral meeting with the Commissioner yesterday I addressed the issue of advance payment in view of the effects of the weather on farming and asked if the Commission would consider going beyond the 50% to a 70% advance. However, the Commissioner raised some practical concerns around doing so.